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What's the Best Way to Remove Excess Pubic Hair?

I am 13 years old and I am finding that my pubic hair is a bit embarrassing. I don't want to begin shaving it, because I only want it gone around the edges where it can stick out of my bathing suit. Also, shaving makes the hairs come back thicker and darker. Is there a way to remove it painlessly and with the least downsides? What is safe for my body?
- Steph*

The hair that shows when you wear a bathing suit is what hair-removal products politely call the "bikini area." Lots of girls choose to get rid of it. To avoid the stubbly look you can get from shaving, some girls decide to use depilatories or wax. (The good news about shaving is that it doesn't actually make hair thicker or darker, it just looks that way.)

A depilatory is a cream or liquid that removes hair from the skin's surface. Depilatories work quickly, are available at drugstores and grocery stores, and are painless. But some people have an allergic reaction to the chemicals in the depilatory, which may cause a rash or inflammation. Before using a depilatory on pubic hair, read product labels to find one that says it's safe to use on the bikini area.

With waxing, a sticky wax is spread on the area of skin where the unwanted hair is growing. A cloth strip is then applied and quickly pulled off, taking the hair root with it. Waxing can sting a bit while it's being done, but the results last longer than with shaving or depilatories because it takes longer for the hair to grow back.

You can buy home waxing kits in drugstores and beauty supply stores, but if you've never had waxing done before it's best to visit a salon so you can see how it's done.

Other options for hair removal are laser hair removal and electrolysis, although these can be expensive.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, RN
Date reviewed: January 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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